So, you’re teaching a sexual health education course…
Welcome, sexual health educators! We would first like to thank you for your contribution towards happier, healthier futures for all of your students. Comprehensive sex education is critical, and as an educator, you directly affect the lives of all those you teach and all of their future sexual partners.
Whether you are just starting out as a sex health educator or you are a seasoned teacher who has been doing this for years, we would like to offer you a variety of resources to help refresh your memory and teaching. This information can also be beneficial for parents who are nervous about approaching the topic of “sex” with their children.
Why teach comprehensive sex education?
Sexuality is an inherent part of every individual’s identity. In order to become healthy adults, students must learn about sexuality and sexual health throughout their young lives. Non-comprehensive sex education programs simply cover basic sexual behaviors (e.g. sexual intercourse, pregnancy, etc.) and do not teach many other topics related to sexuality. Today’s students are looking for more information about relationships, contraception, sexual identity and orientation, pleasure, sexually transmitted infections, body image, and more. The goal of comprehensive sex education (beginning in kindergarten and continuing throughout high school) is to promote safe sexual practices and overall well-being in a way that is age appropriate.1
Comprehensive sexuality also needs to be taught at a younger age. Girls are reaching puberty shockingly early: breast development that was once typical of 11-year olds is now being seen in 7-year olds.2 For the past two decades, scientists have been working to find out why puberty is beginning at such a young age, and childhood obesity seems to play a large part in the change.2 Regardless of the cause of early puberty, children would benefit from a change in the sex education system. In most schools, sex education programs don’t cover body maturation until 5th grade—when children are about 10 or 11 years old.2 A comprehensive sex education program beginning as early as the end of third or beginning of fourth grade would help children to understand their bodies’ changes.
1. "Implementing Sex Education." Implementing Sex Education. Planned Parenthood, n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2015.
2. Maron, Dina F. "Early Puberty: Causes and Effects." Scientific American Global RSS. N.p., 14 Apr. 2015. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.
Last updated: 9 February 2016.